Compared to other battery technologies, Lithium Polymer (also known as Lithium-ion Polymer or LiPo) is a relative newcomer to the marketplace. Born out of the necessity for higher capacity and reduced weight, the Lithium Polymer battery made its debut in 1996 after the technology was filed under patent (Patent Number 5645960) in early 1994. Whilst Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery technology has been popular with consumers for several years, Lithium Polymer is only now beginning to live up to its full potential.

As well as gaining a strong foothold in the mobile and cell phone industries, the LiPo battery has quickly gained an excellent reputation in the fields of model electric RC aircraft and also electric powered RC cars. Due to the battery’s ability to provide a very high current for prolonged periods its market share has risen by nearly 7% in the past 12 months despite the comparatively high costs associated with not just the purchase of the cells but also with the charging devices and controllers required to make use of them.

The main disadvantage of the LiPo battery is the controlled environment needed to charge these batteries safely. Unlike NiMh which is capable of being charged at 0.1C (i.e. 10 percent of its capacity per hour) with no risk of overcharging or explosion, the LiPo battery requires constant monitoring of both temperate, current and voltage by its charger in order to reach full capacity whilst remaining safe.

While the vast majority of new laptop computers continue to be manufactured to incorporate Lithium-ion technology, experts predict that over the next 24 months Lithium Polymer will account for approximately 15% of the laptop battery market. The reason that the uptake of Lithium Polymer in laptops has not been quicker is that the laptop will require significant design changes in order to disperse heat away from the battery compartment as even an increase of a few degrees will degrade the life of a Lithium Polymer battery considerably.

This article was written by Jasper Daylong, you can visit his blog Best Rechargeable Batteries to learn more about all types of battery technology.

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